2 Timothy 4.9-13 – A Man and His Books

Towards the end of 2 Timothy we see just how human Paul was, despite him being used so powerfully and mightily by the Lord.

Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.

Paul is nearing the end of his earthly life (vv.6-8), and he has been either deserted or left behind by many of his traveling companions. He writes that Luke alone is with me. The great Apostle then makes some very human requests – bring me some friends, bring me my cloak, and bring me my books (v.13).

Even though this man did more than most for the advancement of the Gospel, he remained just that, a man. He was evidently lonely, he was evidently cold, and was evidently wanting to read Scripture in his darkest hour. Above all the parchments most likely means portions of what we would call the Old Testament. 

John Calvin said this about Paul’s life-long desire to read Scripture,

“…this passage refute the madness of the fanatics who despise books and condemn all reading and boast only of . . . their private inspirations by God. But we should note that this passage commends continual reading to all godly men as a thing from which they can profit.”

So here is Paul, just a man and his books, earthly life ending, eternity on the horizon. No matter his present circumstances he still had the desire to read Scripture, and what a wonderful lesson that is for us. No matter what is going on around us, we must still have the desire to commune with the Lord through reading His Word to us, seeing His faithfulness committed to paper, and watching His people learn just how much they need Him.

 

How Am I Saved?

In James 1 we read about the testing of our faith (vv.2-4), how God tempts nobody (vv.12-15), and how the ultimate gift of salvation and eternal life comes from God (vv.16-18).

Then, we read this,

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

So, knowing all of this, we should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. This is because our anger does not produce in us the righteousness of God that should be present in those saved unto eternal life.

James continues and says that we should distance ourselves from filthiness and rampant wickedness, and having already told us that good comes from God and that He tempts nobody, James is saying, simply, put away things from your life that are not Godly.

Then we see what saves us from all this filthiness and wickedness, what saves us both in the here and now and in the ultimate sense, the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

James is very clear that the word is what saves us. The Word of God carries the power of God, and the power of God in the Word of God saves our souls.

Maybe you have heard people talk about other Christian things as necessary for salvation; perhaps baptism, or communion, or worship, or a whole manner of weird and extra-Biblical things, but, at the core, it is possible to do those things and not have a saved soul, isn’t it. For example, we can eat bread and drink juice and not believe what it represents (although Paul has some strong words about that in 1 Corinthians 11). 

On the other hand think – is it possible to have the Word of God be implanted in your soul and not be saved?

It is the Word of God that saves us, because it all points to the singular and sufficient source of salvation. 

In 2 Timothy 3 Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage the young pastor, specifically regarding Scripture, and we read,

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Very clear, that the sacred writings (Scripture, the Bible, the Word of God) make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

So, as James says, we are to receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save our souls.

The Word of God saves us because it all points to the singular and sufficient source of salvation, Jesus.

The Word of God saves us because reading it, having it implanted within us, strengthens our faith in Jesus, the Word become flesh.

The Word of God produces in us faith in Christ Jesus, which saves us (Ephesians 2.8-9, Acts 16.31, John 3.16).

How are we saved? Faith in Jesus, the living Word of God. Every time we read His written Word we are inescapably drawn to the Living Word.

How are we saved? The Word of God.


Point to ponder – Is the Word of God implanted within me?


Prayer – Father we thank you again for your Word. Help us to be people who value it, spend time in it, people who try our best to live it, and people who want to share it. Amen.